Regardless of where you live, one thing is certain – you need to do as much as you can to protect yourself from air pollution. These days, as the awareness of all kinds of types of pollution grows around the world, this is fast becoming one of the most immediate types of environmental issues that we deal with. This is probably due to the fact that air pollution is often the quickest-acting cause of adverse health effects in humans. And that’s why recent research has focused a lot on how air pollution is detrimental to our skin and hair health.
In fact, it turns out this is just as harmful to your skin as extreme sun exposure would be; just less visible. Environmental pollution is real even when you can’t see it with the naked eye; making protection from aerial pollution more important than ever before, especially in terms of skincare. With that in mind, we’ll dive deeper into the topic below!
Air Pollution 101
Before we can dissect how air pollution negatively impacts the health of our hair and skin – we have to ask ourselves what this is in the first place. By and large, this expression refers to the particles and varied gases that become a part of the air due to different human activities; including aerial waste from all kinds of refineries, manufacturing plants, car exhaust, and nicotine smoke.
It should be noted that most of these can’t penetrate human skin right away. Instead, these pollutants trigger an entire series of “attacks” on the surface of your skin. Eventually, this makes it far easier for the aforementioned air pollutants to really get under your skin (no pun intended) and cause serious harm.
Plus, there is one type of pollutant that can actually penetrate the pores of your skin instantaneously – generally called “small particular matter”. You can probably already guess why, as these pollutants are tiny and minuscule enough to go beneath your pores. And once they’re inside, just washing yourself and your face, unfortunately, won’t do the trick.
Now, it should be noted that the degree to which air pollution affects you is largely determined by your location. In other words – if you live in a huge sprawling metropolis, you’ll definitely have more pollution to deal with. That being said, spending time in rural areas isn’t risk-free either. The pollution that industrialized cities create travels beyond their confines, spreading through the water and atmosphere, and becoming a part of the soil itself.
Air Pollution And Skin
So, what kind of pollutant exposure is most likely to do harm to our skin? Both in terms of effects on general appearance and health, we can differentiate five distinct kinds of air pollution:
● Automotive exhausts
● Nicotine smoke
● By-products from manufacturing
● Small particulate matter
All of the abovementioned types of air pollution are bound to negatively impact your hair and skin – smog being one of the most harmful ones. If you don’t remove yourself from the polluted environment and treat the symptoms in due time, you will experience faster skin aging and general deterioration. Some of the adverse effects you could suffer include:
● Acne-like issues from small airborne pollutants which penetrate your pores and cause damage deep in the skin;
● Itchy and irritatingly dry skin;
● Skin becoming redder and more sensitive;
● Bigger pores;
● The appearance of wrinkles;
● An uneven skin tone;
● Brownish spots.
As we’ve just mentioned, there are all kinds of bad consequences from your skin’s surface experiencing a molecular breakdown from air pollution. It’s incredibly vital to protect your skin from unwanted intrusions from pollutants.
Naturally, apart from damaging your skin – the number one way air pollution enters your body is through breathing. That’s why it’s advisable not to smoke, and eat a diet that’s chock-full of nutrients and antioxidants.
Air Pollution and Hair
So far, we’ve discussed all of the various ways in which air pollution influences our skin. But if air pollution is able to do that much damage to our skin and our scalp; what kind of effect does it bear on our hair? Before you start thinking about more superficial changes to your hairstyle, you should always keep in mind that maintaining the health of your hair is your number one priority.
Remember all of the pollutants we’ve talked about above? Well, the toxic content that they create in the air doesn’t just enter your exposed skin on your body; it also goes into the skin that’s found on your scalp. As a consequence, you’ll find it harder to generate fiber for hair follicles. Besides that, the toxicity found in the surrounding air may also be found in your bloodstream, further hindering normal hair growth. If you live in a heavily industrialized area, this is a problem that’s going to be even more readily apparent.
Of course, it’s also the matter of what you do to your surroundings personally. Tobacco smoke, kitchen fires, dust particles, and all kinds of things found in a household all add to these adverse effects.
If you’re looking to prevent some of the worst effects air pollution has on hair; you should consider wearing some sort of hat the next time you go outside. Yes, headwear is more than a pure fashion statement – it can also function as protective gear for your head and hair. If you cover the top of your scalp, your hair will be better protected from the toxic airborne particles. Plus, a hat can protect your eyes from UV rays.
Apart from this, it’s also a good idea to stay as hydrated as possible. Many people don’t know that, but this is quite important for hair health, especially in polluted areas. If you’ve got external pollutants that could be harmful to your hair, they could quickly make your scalp and hair drier, and more prone to damage. With that in mind, you should keep moisturization in min all of the time to counteract this.